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Avant Gardener – 090213

Hosts Derek and Carolyn Fell discuss growing conditions in Southern Florida where Derek is working on the final stages of a tropical garden, picking ripe bananas and coconuts from his own trees, while Carolyn is holding the fort at Cedaridge Farm in Pennsylvania, harvesting flowers and vegetables as they reach their peak performance. In the email segment Derek identifies a listeners problem with rust on roses, a fungus disease that is widespread during wet weather, not only affecting roses but other plants like snapdragons and hollyhocks. Derek also identifies a disease on a listener’s potatoes as ‘scab’ which can discolor the skin if the soil pH is not sufficiently acidic. Derek also recommends a collection of six useful herbs to grow on a kitchen windowsill. A Florida listener wants to know what the black slime is on his citrus bushes and how to control it, and Derek explains that it also affects fruit trees in northern gardens, especially pears and apples. The Fells devote the rest of the program to discussing headlines from their monthly newsletter, the Avant Gardener (avantgardener.info), including the fact that Cornell University has developed a new series of heat-resistant broccoli that means gardeners and farmers who live where summers are hot, can now grow this nutritious vegetable through all three seasons – spring, summer and fall. Derek describes a recent visit to the Naples Botanical Garden, Florida and also to the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota, Florida, and reports that new research into herbal remedies using parts of the ginkgo tree are proving to be unfounded, and indeed may be cancer causing. Another report from Penn State University warns property owners from planting the Tree of Heaven, widely offered in mail order catalogs and advertisements since it is now proving to be the Tree from Hell, taking over large sections of oak forest weakened from gypsy moth attack. The fells encourage email questions about any aspect of gardening by visiting derekfell@verizon.net.